#London, England – Wednesday May 2, 2018 – Newly ratified legislation in the UK House of Commons may mean the British will move in like bulldogs to further clamp down on the overseas territories when it comes to public disclosure of beneficial owners of companies.
Though the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan has somberly expressed his misgivings about forcing changes in legislation of the OTs, he stood powerless against the vote in Parliament which overwhelmingly supported forcing countries like the Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar and Anguilla to alter laws to comply with the UK-amended Sanctions and Anti Money Laundering Bill.
“We are concerned however, that the economic impact on imposing public registers on the overseas territories will be significant, but furthermore, the Overseas Territories are separate jurisdictions, with their own democratically elected governments. They are responsible for their own fiscal matters and they are not represented in this Parliament. Legislating for them without their consent, effectively disenfranchises their elected representatives. We would have preferred to work consensually with the overseas territories to make their registers publicly available…”
Sir Alan continued at the House of Commons on Tuesday with a presentation explaining the ‘bossy’ ultimatum which will have to be leveled at the OTs, despite his apprehension about the economic impact: “We do not want to legislate directly for them nor do we want to risk damaging our longstanding constitutional arrangements which respects their autonomy. However, we’ve listened to the strength of feeling of this House on this issue and accept that it is, without a doubt, the majority view of this House that the overseas territories should have public registers ahead of it becoming the international standard as set by the Financial Action Task Force, FATF.”
The Bill was accepted on Tuesday in London and calls for the legal framework of the overseas territories to be changed by the year 2020.
The Turks and Caicos, just this past February finally managed to push through the House of Assembly, a bill which makes beneficial owners of companies public on a need to know basis only.
ACMA had drafted a list of legal concerns and qualified recommendations for consideration by the Turks and Caicos Financial Services Commission; Magnetic Media is told that only a few of the long list of suggestions was picked up in the law, which it seems, will now be made to undergo further change for even wider disclosure of who owns what.
The PDM Administration, through its Party Chairman has chimed in as the conversation is growing and eliciting vociferous outrage about the obligation, sure to threaten as much as 90% of business done by company management firms.
Hon. Douglas Parnell summed up the foreboding policy as bold-faced robbery and vexing discrimination.
“This new move discriminates against all UK Overseas Territories by threatening to use constitutional force by Order in Council to cause OT’s to comply with opening up all the information about beneficial ownership available in our registries! Right now, if there is cause, law enforcement from other jurisdictions can get access. This new move will allow anyone in the world to go online and search any person’s name or company name to see who is associated with it. Every law firm or company management firm that employs a corporate manager/secretary could and most likely would see a loss of their business. It will affect every financial institution in TCI. But, the Crown dependencies like Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man are exempted. Basically, they are robbing the OTs of their financial services business in favor of their own interests,“ said Parnell, who works in the Office of the Premier and Finance Minister in a media statement issued today.
Magnetic Media is informed that trusts and land asset holdings firms; company and property managers; the people they hire like housekeepers and gardeners; financial institutions and estate planners will all be negatively impacted by the requirement from the ceaselessly demanding FATF. Constant changes and mandatory compliance standards are leveling the playing field so much, that competitive edge is almost completely eroded for small island states like the Turks and Caicos Islands.